Thursday, December 1, 2011

City Mouse

AS a parent.  You worry.  You worry about a lot of things.  One of the things I worry a little about is the fact that my daughter's childhood looks VERY different from my own and the one most people imagine...the picket fence, the swing set...suburbia.  We're raising our daughter in the city.  Next to a 7/11.  On top of a bank.  In a two bedroom apartment. And so far, I have to say, it's been GREAT. Not only does she get to do the same stuff suburban kids do: she plays soccer, and tennis, skis, ice skates and takes swimming lessons, she also gets to have unique experiences like attending a Bi-lingual school where she is immersed in Spanish.  Or hanging at one of the world's best art museums.  Or checking out books from the country's first free library. Or walking through the underground garage to visit her friends in the next building over.  She's having a very unique experience and one of the most unique is participating in Gateway Ballet.

Gateway Ballet is a little kids dance troupe run by Balanchine-trained, ex-Super Model, (not ex model, ex SUPER model [google it!...]) Ashley Richardson.  This you do not find in the suburbs.   I chose Gateway Ballet because it was cheaper than the eminent Boston Ballet, which is another great resource the city provides, but not as unique as Miss Ashley. And not even half as fun! 

Every year Miss Ashley puts on the BEST twelve-minute all-child production of the Nutcracker that anyone has ever seen!  SHe makes the costumes herself, without charging for them.  And gets all these talented artist parents to make scenery.  And invites the entire neighborhood to three FREE performances.  ANd she lets you video tape them.  And lets you dance in them too, if you want to.This too, you do not find in the suburbs.

I had my doubts about Miss Ashley's ballet in the beginning. When my daughter was four, she was a soldier and she had to be killed on stage by the king rat, played by one of the fathers.  And she had to ask me, "What's death, mommy?"  ANd so I had to explain it to her.  And so she had nightmares.  And so I had my doubts.  And it didn't seem like she was learning a ton of 'ballet'.  But look how cute (that's her on the right with her friend, Tess of the building connected to the garage):
But we kept at it... Because Miss Ashley really loves these kids.  And because she routinely gets big kids and little kids and 20 boys (! another thing you'd never see in the suburbs) and 20 girls working together to create this thing they are REALLY proud of.

And this year Cadence is learning a LOT of ballet!!  She is chene'ing and pique' turning and grand jete'ing in a big white tutu all over that stage and she even has a solo and she's opening tonight!  Here are the Snowflakes in rehearsal:

And we are so excited.   And I'm feeling "show-mom" jitters.  Which is stupid, because it's just Miss Ashley's Shortest Nutcracker in the history of man.  But it's important to these kids and it's our way of ushering in the Holiday Spirit.  Bring on the Holidays people!!!  Sending out Magical Goosebump Holiday Feelings to you all and will post some photos of the actual show tomorrow! xoxo Wendy

And Oh Yeah!  P.S..  The Probability of Miracles hit Amazon's Best Books of the Month List for December!!!   So tell all your friends :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What's this? you ask.
Why, that's just me. (& Cadence) 
Getting off my High Horse!

Well, technically it's a camel.
And I'm about to get off of it.  In a minute.
So... Close enough.

Just wanted to assure you that future blog posts won't always be so serious.
Unless I'm in the mood for serious.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meditations on Literary Fiction

Last night I was thrilled to attend this little soiree in honor and celebraton of the fortieth anniversary of Ploughshares, a literary magazine.  I actually Won tickets on the Ploughshares blog, which was cool for many reasons:
  • Number One: it's cool to win things and it's even cooler that the eminent Alice Hoffman decided to donate tickets to give away to lit mag enthusiasts like us
  • Number Two: my husband once slaved away at the magazine as its Managing Editor (and I choose those words with intention) and I once read through its mountainous slush pile. So we had a history with the organization.
  •  Number Three:  Denis Leary was hosting and agreed to hang out at the cocktail reception and be ogled by nerds like us.  We were actually too shy to talk to him, but here's a picture of me standing where he stood 
  • Number Four:  realizing that Lee Pelton, the new President of Emerson College, is a literary Stud!
  • Number Five:  Andre Dubus III's hair...(magnificent)
  • Number Six:  the readings.  Oh.  The readings were exquisite.  Exquisitely written.  Exquisitely read by professional writers (and even some non writers like hockey guy, Cam Neely and celebrity chef, Ming Tsai) and all painfully, beautifully, and exquisitely... sad.
Yes, sad.  Children dying, sad.  Young siblings being torn apart in a divorce, sad.  High School quarterbacks growing old, fat, and bald, sad.  Lonely middle aged bachelors becoming the laughing stock of  small towns, sad. 

And I'll get back to all that sadness in a minute. 

Before the event, at the cocktail soiree, filled with ivory tower, courduroy-blazer-wearing, professorial types, I was a little bit excited to talk about my new book (The Probability of Miracles available for pre-order now at :).  But that was silly.  Because I forgot where I was.  I forgot how the mention of those two little letters, Y. A., could make these folks bristle.  One of my old professors actually said, loudly, "Well I hope you didn't sell out!"  Another colleaugue who's written "real" novels could barely look at me or stop to say hello. Another person quickly dismissed my book as "children's" literature.

Hmmm.  Did I sell out?   Am I writing for children? Yes.  And No. 

Did I compromise and write something less than I'm capable of.  I don't think so.  Do young people deserve less than my best work?  I don't think so.  And are Young Adults, Children?  God, I really don't think so.  The Young Adults I'm only just beginning to meet are voracious and sophisticated and intelligent readers.  I feel challenged by them.  Honestly.  They are not children.

But they are perhaps, child-like.  And this is an important distinction.  This means that while they are sophisticated and experienced, they still have hope.  They are not faced with the brutal realization of their mortality like the audience for all those sad stories mentioned above.  They are excited about living and embarking on their new lives.  And this means that instead of sadness, I get to write with hope.  I get to write with joy.   And although someday I might write the saddest, most beautiful, depressing, literary book for "adults" (I know I have it in me:), for now I feel grateful for the chance to write hopeful stories. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Big Push

Hi and welcome to the new blog! Designed by my favorite genius and yours, David Yoon. Thanks David!! I love the fonts...The 70s magazine feel. The sun dappled nostalgia of it all. Much respect.

Well, it's only 5 weeks until the release of The Probability of Miracles and I thought I'd post a shot of how it all began...

You see, when my daughter was 4 (about 4 years ago) she was obsessed by the hula. She was Very serious about it:

Sort of:

So what was any mom to do, but take her to DISNEY WORLD..(we couldn't afford Hawaii) and I had super fond memories of The Polynesian Hotel in the seventies.  We couldn't actually Stay at the Polynesian Hotel...We stayed at the All Star Movies Budget Hotel with the big statue of Buzz Lightyear, and the kind of gross food court. We didn't stay at the Polynesian, but we Did make sure to get ourselves to the special Luau dinner show, where my four year old was invited up on stage to dance. 

Here's where a good mom would post a picture of her dancing on stage at Disney World's Polynesian Hotel, but I spent two hours combing our files for the Disney pics and I can't find them...:( 

Anyway, while I was watching the special luau Polynesian dinner show, I thought about how interesting it would be to "perform" your culture for a living for a bunch of people who didn't really understand it.  It would be gratifying in that you'd be keeping your traditions alive, but also frustrating because you'd only be showing people a small Disnified fraction of what it means to be Polynesian...Anyway I was thinking and thinking about that and that's probably why I don't have a lot of pictures of it...And I thought I might write about it some day... And The Probability of Miracles was born...sort of...Because it's about a whole lot of other things aside from what it might be like to work at Disney. 

Did I mention it comes out on December 8th?  Because it does.  And you can pre-order it now on Amazon.  And get one for all your friends.  For the Holidays.  Because you have to get something for them anyway right.. And it's that perfect price.  Under twenty dollars so it doesn't seem like you overdid it, but over ten, so it doesn't seem like you cheaped out.  And it's a hardcover.  So it looks rich,  like you got a lot for your money.  Anyhow... Hope you have a fabulous evening!  Let me know your thoughts about the new blog.